Friday, August 21, 2015

REVIEW - AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet? (The Normal Series #1)
by Holly Bourne
Publisher - Usborne
Release Date - August 1st 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

Are you normal? What is normal? Is there a perfect specimen of humanity that is normal? Personally there isn't such a thing as normal, what you are is YOU! Your normalcy is being who you are and being independent. It's learning to love yourself for who you are. Your probably wondering where in the world did you get this epiphany from, I have two words for you - HOLLY BOURNE.

Evie wants to be normal. She wants to decrease her medication, have a first kiss, a boyfriend, and drink at parties. This is what normal is considered to be these days! Who knew, hey? But is it all that it's cracked up to be. Evie suffers from extreme case of OCD, she has a tendency to 'obstress' a lot. Love that word. Rationalising good thoughts and bad thoughts, breathing techniques, doing things out of her minds ordinary routine. But as Evie's medication decreases, she thinks shes getting better when actually her thoughts are becoming and overwhelming her to a degree she cannot to control.

I really felt for Evie. Not in a pitying way, but in a 'I can understand way' I don't have OCD or have gone through quite such an ordeal as Evie. But in a way I do think we have some sort of OCD, we have our quirks to our personality if you will, But what you saw also was inside her head, how she thinks, they way Holly writes and formats her work is just a pleasure to read. It's an insight to the character's minds unlike any other novel I've read. Although, I think maybe I've been living my life wrong when I was a teenager, but I guess as I grow up, generations and ideals change and that is what we are all trying to keep up with. But I also know that this is indeed very true too. The amount of it I see from the schools below me astounded me. How did it even come to this. 

Whilst Evie has her battles she also has her friends, Her friend Jane, has totally has a personality transplant, all because of some guy in a band named Joel. Jane was there for her in the past, she would do and say all the right things to get her through the day. But now, Evie just feels alone, so she meets Amber and Lottie from college. Two very unique yet real characters, and together they band together to create The Spinster Club. A way to show that we don't need to be dependent on people, objects, or boys that we should value the people in your life and be independent yourself. I have to say I'm not a huge feminist, I didn't really know how far feminism ideals range, but Holly has inspired me how it can effect you but in different ways. I'd like to say that I'm a feminist and I believe in being who you are and being independent... what was it Amber said...
"Being a spinster means not altering who you are, but what you believe in....
That's how it should be. Not just for feminism but for OCD and mental health. It's being aware, it being who you are even if you have some unique quirks. Like the girls say you need to love yourself. This is how much this novel has presented itself to me in so many ways. 

It has nothing to do with the fact I'm quoted inside. Absolutely nothing. Well maybe a little bit. But I wouldn't be quoted in something so extraordinary if it wasn't for Holly being a pure, real honest voice of YA. She is the future. For those who haven't picked up her novels, you are missing out terribly. There is never something similar about her novels, they are different. Holly Bourne inspires to a wide spectrum of young adult novels. 

Rating - 5 

P.S. Please do keep an eye on this blog as I will have special news relating to this novel in the near future. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

#BOUTOFBOOKS 14 : Goals and Updates


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team



It's that time of the year again...I am a recent joiner of the #boutofbooks challenge and the last time I participated it didn't go very well at all. I managed to read only 1 book.  Now like all readers its choosing what book to read, do I go ARCs which I have quite a lot of, or my TBR which again is ever-growing. Sadly lol. So I've decided to mix it up a bit and this is a potential list of books that I will likely pick from this week.

       

Updates:

Monday - 
The Next Together - Pages: 25
Tuesday -
Not much more than Monday I'm afraid
Wednesday - 
Again to about Page 40
Thursday -
Hopefully I will read more today!
Friday - 

Saturday -

Sunday -
I guess this is more of catch-up reads for blog tours, for example, This One Moment and The Next Together. Also there are a few ARCs I need to read too. I'm also intrigued by Paper Towns too. The film looks great. Even though I was a little apprehensive as I'm not a fan of TGIOS at all. I will be updating this post daily as well my Instagram and Twitter so be sure to head on over. If you want to read any of these books with me then please give me a shout. 

Are you joining Bout of Books? Have you read any of these books? Let me know and link me up. Good luck to those who are participating! 
Happy Reading,


Monday, August 10, 2015

BLOG TOUR:GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - NIGHT OWLS by Jenn Bennett

Hi Everyone, hope you are all, I'm currently away by the beach so this is a scheduled post. But I'm pleased to kick off the Night Owls tour with Simon & Schuster this week. Whilst I haven't got around to reading Night Owls yet it is in my pile next to me right now. So before I share with you my post of the week, which is getting to know more about Beatrix and John... here is a little more about the book. I've also got a spare copy of the book to giveaway so make sure you click read more to enter.

Night Owls
by Jenn Bennett
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date - August 13th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Feeling alive is always worth the risk.
Meeting Jack on the Owl—San Francisco's night bus—turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive...and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists.

But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.
US Version
Meet the Night Owls Characters!

Are you the kind of television watcher that prefers to get to know the backgrounds of the new contestants of a competition show before the season starts? Do you like to peruse maps and glossaries before you crack open your fantasy books? Need more information about characters before you’re ready to plunk down cash and spend more time with them? Then look no further, because this guide is for you! My YA debut is a contemporary romance between two artists who fall for each other after meeting on a night bus in San Francisco, and here’s everything you need to know about the main players:

Beatrix Adams: A petite seventeen-year-old art student better known to her friends and family as “Bex” who lives with her single mother and older brother. Knows a hundred ways to braid hair. Bex geeks out over drawing anatomy (nickname at school: Morticia) and her goal for the summer before her final year of high school is to win a museum-sponsored scholarship. Wit: dry. Determination: high. And nothing can stop her from reaching her goal…until she bumps into Jack.

Jack Vincent: A ridiculously tall seventeen-year-old graffiti artist who’s been spray-painting enormous gold words across San Francisco with the tag Golden Apple, attracting the attention of local media—not to mention the police. When Bex figures out that Jack is Golden Apple, she has a million questions: What do all these words mean? Just who does this guy think he is? And why does he have to be so hot and charming? Bonus: he’s got a retro-Rockabilly fixation and has a cool pompadour.

Heath Adams: Bex’s nineteen-year-old gay brother. He recently dropped out of college (that’s putting it nicely), and is living in the basement of their one-bedroom house. Heath lives for metal bands, going out to clubs, and his (very responsible) boyfriend, Noah. Bex and Heath are very close. They also fight like brothers and sisters often do.

Katherine Adams: Nurse Katherine, aka “Katherine the Great,” is Bex’s mother. Though she works nights at the hospital, she’s a fierce mother and does her best to stay involved in both her kids’ lives. Had a messy, bad breakup with their father a couple of years ago, and is doing her best to support the family by herself, which isn’t easy in infamously expensive San Francisco.

Andy Wong: Jack’s best friend works at the Zen Center bookstore and is an aspiring comic book writer. He’s handsome, has a labret piercing, and is totally charming. He is not checking out Bex’s boobs.

???: This mystery character is very important to Jack, but I can’t reveal her, because SPOILER. You can’t know everything ahead of time. What are you waiting for? Jack and Bex are waiting for you to discover their secrets: Go buy the book, for Pete’s sake!



Jenn Bennett (Photo ©Bill Skeel)

Jenn Bennett is an artist and RITA-nominated author who writes books for adults and teens, including the award-winning Roaring Twenties romance series (Bitter Spirits) and the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series (Kindling the Moon). Her first YA contemporary romance, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, (akaNight Owls in the UK) will be released in 2015. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs.


Terms and Conditions. 
It is an UK ONLY (Sorry INT!)
It will end at the 17th August!!!
Once it finishes I will select a winner and email you. Then I will pass your details directly to the publisher so you can receive this prize. I am not responsible for any losses of books once I've passed the information forward.
Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 07, 2015

MINI REVIEWS & EXCERPT - THE LADYBIRDS series so far... by Jenny McLachlan

Flirty Dancing (The Ladybirds #1)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release Date - July 3rd 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.


The Ladybirds were once a group of friends from nursery, but now as they've grown up they have parted ways. But when a dancing show gives their school an opportunity to audition, she can't but want to be a part of it even without a partner. She loves to dance in her room so why not dance for a show. Her nan however, makes sure she gets to dance, so she arranges to dance with Ollie, Pearl's boyfriend (ish). Pearl was part of their friendship but now she has become the bitch of the group, basically. You all know how they can be.

Bea, is one of those girls who feels very self conscious and shy about herself, although dancing becomes an integral part of her personality, it gets her to open up. What I loved was how her Nan played such an emotional and driven relationship with Bea that I felt that was the most precious thing in the entire book. Although Ollie and Bea was indeed a highlight as well. I know what that relationship is like and I love how Nans and Grandma's have a certain view of the world that we don't get to see in this new generation.

Each novel starts with an event or incentive to get the girls in the competitive spirit which you can see throughout the series. What I loved was the setting which was Brighton, I mean who has read a book in Brighton? Not me until now. We need more of them to explore the beauty of which is the UK and not just London. Flirty Dancing was indeed a breath of fresh air. The Ladybird series is one of those that you can read when you want just a light and fluffy novel. This particular novel in the series really made me remember when I was at school, although I wasn't very much the person who had a love story at that age. Just quite a couple of crushes I guess. All I have to say to Bea is don't lose herself or Ollie when she leaves school. Be the person you are. It was a very young YA novel for myself and sometimes I find that you can't really connect with the characters very often. But if I'm honest I find that it really depends on the character herself and the story-line. But that didn't deter from Bea's novel.

Rating - 3.5


Love Bomb (The Ladybirds #2)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release Date - March 12th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Betty Plum has never been in love. She's never even kissed a boy. But when H.O.T. Toby starts school it's like Betty has been hit with a thousand of Cupid's arrows. It's like a bomb has exploded – a love bomb!

More than ever Betty wishes her mum hadn't died when Betty was a baby. She really needs her mum here to ask her advice. And that's when she finds hidden letters for just these moments. Letters about what your first kiss should feel like and what real love is all about …

Again, the book begun on a event of some sorts, rather than a dancing audition, this time is was a Autumn show, where Betty would bring out her personality by singing with either Kat her best friend, or the new kid Toby! I knew from the start that something wasn't right here. Although it was Betty's love is feeling getting in the mix she really couldn't tell and to be honest, it was after all her first time falling for someone. But it seemed that is someone closer to home that she had fallen for all along.

As you all know by now, I adore novels that add some more texture to the novels with letters, extracts, notes that sort of thing. Rather than just text and dialogue it's another way to communicate with one another especially that between Betty and her mum. Her mum was her rock but she never got the chance to really know her that well. So her mum wrote a letter for every birthday up to the age of 16 trying to keep herself alive in memory in some way for Betty. But then her mum create four very important letter, a lesson, a moment in your life that you need your mum around in this form. Each letter was heart-breaking, she had cancer and each growing letter she was deteriorating, but it showed just how much she loved Betty.

As far as a sequel goes in this series, I wasn't as good as the first novel. But that has nothing to do with the plot more to do with Betty as a character. For the life of me I couldn't quite connect with her as much as I did Bea. I think her lack of maturity, but that is her character, she is a little bonkers in places and I did see that, which made me laugh out loud. But if I'm honest it was the fun and laugh factor that made me love these books. Short, sweet, and colourful, I mean look at the covers, aren't they gorgeous and I think that is what pulled me to these books. And that fact the Betty on this cover sort of looks like me but younger. Lol. If you want someone light and fluffy then your in the right place.

Rating - 3

The latest novel is coming out next week so I thought I would share an excerpt with all of what's to come of Kat's story...



Sunkissed (The Ladybirds #3)
Publisher - Bloomsbury UK
Release Date - 13th August 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

Kat can't believe her family are sending her to Sweden for the summer. But without her friends, or even a phone signal, can Kat make it on her own?

In a land of saunas, nudity and summer sun, Kat soon realises she has nowhere to hide. It's time to embrace who she really is, underneath what she's been thinking people want her to be. Especially if she's going to win the heart of mega fit Swede Leo! Can Kat find her inner strength and prove she's got what it takes?

Kat soon finds that when you're surrounded by phosphorescence and wonder it's easy to sparkle. Or maybe that's what happens when you fall in love . Or maybe you only shine when you're true to yourself.


      In the darkness, Joel finds my hand and squeezes it. ‘And I mean, I really like you . . .’
     ‘Oh,’ I say, and I gulp, but maybe it sounds like, ‘Mmm,’ because he puts his arm round me and starts rubbing his nose in my hair. I've got to get out of here! I fumble through dresses and jumpers, trying to get my fingers in the gap in the door, but as I lean forward, he starts kissing me. 
      Actually, he’s kissing my ear. 
      Does this count as a kiss? If it does, it’s my third-ever kiss. Joel’s ear-kiss is moist and gross. Part of me wants it to stop immediately, but a bigger part of me knows this is going to be a really funny story to tell my 8 friends because I’m fairly certain Joel thinks he’s kissing my mouth. 
      Suddenly, Joel breathes out and it’s so tickly I burst out laughing. Next, footsteps crash across my room, my wardrobe door is thrown open and I tumble on to the carpet. Joel and some shoeboxes land on top of me. 
     I stare up at Dad, blinking into the bright light. ‘Sorry, sorry!’ says Joel as he desperately tries to untangle his shirt button from my hair. Then Pinky strolls in, followed by Mum and Britta. Pinky starts to bite my toes, Britta gasps and covers her mouth, but Mum doesn’t even look surprised. She just shakes her head and says, ‘Oh, Kat, how could you?’ which is word for word what she said at Marks and Spencer’s. 
     And then I make my second big mistake of the evening: I start to laugh . . . and I just can’t stop.